A briefing by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to the parliamentary portfolio committee today revealed that negotiations with the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) are delaying the implementation of legislation aimed at regulating the appointment of senior municipal officials.
The regulations must give effect to the Municipal Systems Amendment Act and set education, skills and experience requirements for municipal managers and senior officials. The Act is also intended to prohibit, for specified terms, the employment or re-employment of municipal officials found guilty of certain categories of misconduct.
The Act was assented to by President Zuma on 5 July 2011, but the process of finalising the regulations is proving hugely problematic.
In his budget speech in May 2012, Minister Richard Baloyi undertook to have them finalised by the end of July 2012. In a statement issued on 23 August 2012 he then said that they would be released at the end of August.
All of these deadlines have been missed, with the latest indications being that the department hopes to finalise them by March 2013.
The Public Service Commission previously told the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs that only 44% of municipalities reviewed used vetting processes (including criminal record checks and verification of qualifications) when appointing senior managers; that reference checks are done in only 52% of cases; and that only 33% of candidates are required to complete competency tests.
Improved regulations and frameworks for implementation are thus clearly needed.
The Department told the portfolio committee today that they have concluded discussions with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), but that continuing consultations with SAMWU are now the main reason for the delay.
This means that good governance is being compromised by endless negotiations to appease the labour union.
I will be writing to the Minister calling on him again to ensure that the regulations are promulgated as a matter of urgency.
Municipal governance is being hamstrung by a lack of competent leadership. The department should not allow SAMWU to hold clean and effective service delivery hostage any longer.